Excuse me but I require your arm for my new boots.
Lord of Arcana takes the crafting a step further; in addition to being able to build your very own weapons and equipment you can opt to use your hard earned minion-guts to craft yourself some spells. Being able to toss a spell out once in a while not only breaks up the monotony of mashing the square button to kill minions but also serves as part of the strategy. For example, when battling skeletons they will hold their shield and you cannot damage them. Throw a fireball and break open their defense so you can get a couple good attacks in. Adding magic was a great step ahead of Monster Hunter but I’m afraid that it isn’t used nearly enough in the game. This seems to be a common theme throughout the whole crafting system - the idea is there but it is not fleshed out enough. The most addicting part of the game is the crafting and it is supposed to act as the carrot on the stick, but I can’t help feel that Lord of Arcana is lacking in both the amount of gear that you can create and the frequency at which you can craft your desired items.
Lord of Arcana allows up to four players to play co-op. To get a co-op party going you simply have to create a ‘room’ (session) within the game and your friends hop in via Ad-Hoc or Ad-Hoc Party. Once assembled you are free to take on multiplayer specific quests or get some help with story quests. Nothing changes in the game other than the missions you are able to do, and some of the bigger enemies are only accessible in multiplayer. In single player I found that the enemies could take an unusual amount of hits, acting as meat shields. Unfortunately these meat shields do not scale when you bring your slayer posse along. This causes the cooperative experience to be a breeze and you can usually kill most of the enemies without any trouble. It is great to be able to travel as a party and show off all your crafted equipment, but when the game is too easy the cooperative element becomes negligible. The challenge of the game is replaced with a grind-fest, and I really don’t see this as enticing as other cooperative RPGs. Some sort of scaling would easily solve this problem, but unfortunately once you have some buddies the game is a breeze. Games are usually better with friends, but having more people in the game essentially breaks it.
I can see where Square Enix was going with Lord of Arcana and I can’t fault them for trying to copy something successful. In the infant stages of the game LoA definitely seems more accessible and simple than any other addicting grind fest, but it is paralyzed by a list of faults that make it very frustrating to play. It is a streamlined version of Monster Hunter with a fantasy style that simply isn't engaging enough from a storytelling perspective or game structure to allow it to compete with single-player focused RPGs. It will not bring anyone over to this style of game, but it is probably good for those people waiting for the next Monster Hunter game to be released. Even having friends along for the ride did not overcome the trouble I had while trying to get addicted to this grind fest. I have seen this game before, and it was done much better.
The Co-Op Experience: Play with up to three friends to defeat tough enemies and reap rewards together
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.